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Collect payment for services rendered

MaineRecovery Options

Tenant wanted to do upgrades in apartment. Homeowner said that was fine with him as long as tenant paid for the upgrades. work was done in two parts. Part A was compleated and paid for. Part B was compleated and tenant refused to pay stating "I am not going to pay you because i have spent the money on something else". I sent 3 certified letters about 30 days apart with offers to pay in installments. I received no response. This was two and a half years ago. Do i still have recorse to collect amount due with costs and interest?

1 reply

Aug 7, 2018
I'm really sorry to hear about that. First, it's worth noting that because so much time has passed, options for recovery may be limited. For one, a Maine lien claimant's deadline is much shorter than two and a half years - in Maine, a lien claim must be filed within 90 days of the last furnishing labor or materials to the project. Sending a Notice of Intent to Lien might still be effective to some degree - the threat of a lien claim tends to be effective even when a valid lien claim might not even be able to be filed. But considering so much time has passed, it might not be a very effective measure since a lien would quite obviously no longer be valid. Anyway, that certainly does not mean that recovering unpaid sums is not attainable. In Maine, most parties should be able to bring legal action for recovery based on a contract for up to 4 years from the signing of a written contract - and in some cases up to 6 or even 20 years. If the contract was oral, an action may still be brought up to 4 years (and potentially 6 years, depending on the circumstances). A lawsuit can be expensive and unpredictable, but it's still an effective way to handle a dispute. Further, because no one wants to deal with a potential lawsuit, threatening to file suit based on the debt owed could also be effective to compel payment - or at least to reopen talks overpayment. Finally, while litigation can be very expensive, small claims court can be a much cheaper option. In Maine, claims up to $4,500 can be brought in small claims court. Of course, these are only a few of a number of available options - and which potential route for recovery best suits a claimant will ultimately be up to that claimant.
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